Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quotation: On the Issue of Racial Profiling (II)

“The most publicized anti-Greek assault took place in 1909 in the city of South Omaha, Nebraska. On the outskirts of the city was a shantytown of several thousand Greek laborers, a number swollen by unemployed railroad workers waiting out the winter. Anti-Greek feeling in South Omaha was already intense owing to the carousing and gambling of the Greeks and, possibly, because many of them were viewed as strikebreakers. The precipitating incident occurred on February 19 when a Greek, John Masourides was stopped by a policeman, while he was with a prostitute. An argument ensued and Masourides killed the officer. The Greeks claimed the policeman was drunk and enraged in seeing a Greek publicly walking with a ‘white’ prostitute, and that Masourides killed in self-defense. In any event, the townspeople were ready to be whipped into a frenzy (‘One drop of American blood is worth all the Greek blood in the world!’) at a mass meeting presided over by local officials. A mob rampaged through the Greek quarter burning most of it to the ground, destroying some thirty-six Greek businesses, and driving all the Greeks from the city. The South Omaha riot was given wide coverage in the Greek press in America and in Greece.”

Charles C. Moskos, Greek Americans: Struggle and Success (1989:16–17)

Any position that disassosiates racial profiling from mob violence is a politically irresponsible position.

Any position that calls upon American ethnics to acquiesce to racial profiling is an indication of a forgetfull nation.

Any position that calls upon American ethnics to acquiesce to racial profiling is a position extending unearned privileges to those who look white.

[For a recent documentary on yet another anti-Greek riot, this time in Toronto, in 1918, see]

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